Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Oppression in Couple and Family Therapy

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_904-1

Name of Concept

Oppression in Couple and Family Therapy.


Oppression is a term used to “embody the interlocking forces that create and sustain injustice” (Bell 2016, p. 5). Occurring on institutional, interpersonal, and intrapersonal levels, oppression is often rooted in identification according to socially ascribed categories (e.g., race, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status). The experience of marginalization in everyday life based on one’s identity status can be the cause of significant distress and is often relevant to the work done in psychotherapy. In order to adhere to the vision of justice and the mandate for the provision of competent care, culturally and otherwise, therapists are tasked with not only cultivating awareness of when systems of advantage and disadvantage are influencing client functioning and the therapy process but also intervening to facilitate growth and change in spite of them. Further, within the couple and family therapy context, with...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kelley Quirk
    • 1
  • Adam R. Fisher
    • 2
  1. 1.Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Human Development and Family StudiesColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA